Councillor Patrick Clarke stated: “I warmly welcome the 50% empty property relief scheme recently announced by the Finance Minister which will allow business ratepayers who move into unoccupied premises that have been vacant for 12 months or more to claim a one year concession during 2012/2013.
“Across Down District and many other Council areas towns and high streets have many shops and business units lying empty and boarded up long-term due to the present economic downturn which is not good for any retail area.
“However any new business thinking of opening could avail of the 50% concession provided the premises have been vacant for 12 months which I believe could be a very good incentive for people considering going into business.
“The savings particularly in the first year of trading could be quite significant and I would encourage businesses to receive the 50% relief by submitting an application to Land & Property Services (LPS) with evidence that the property, when last used, was used for retail purposes.
“The empty premises relief scheme is a great financial incentive for businesses seeking to locate in an empty property over twelve months thereby putting the premises back into use and receiving 50% rates relief.”